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Don't lag behind in medicinal marijuana - Wheatley

Published:Friday | May 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Ras Bobby Morgan (right), managing director of Orange Hill Industries Ltd, shows the quality of his medical marijuana to Professor Colin Gyles (second right), acting president of UTech, Jamaica; Dr Claire Sutherland, (second left), senior director, International and Institutional Linkages at UTech; and Dr Ellen Campbell-Grizzle, dean and associate professor, College of Health Sciences. The group was participating in the Medical Marijuana Integration Day activities yesterday at the University of Technology in St Andrew.

Minister of Science, Energy and Technology Dr Andrew Wheatley has urged stakeholders to continue to make advances in Jamaica's thrust to develop a medicinal marijuana industry.

"While we have taken the first steps in recognising the medicinal value of the marijuana plant, I know the road may be long and it may be a while before we reach our destination, but the rest of the world is fast catching up, so we must not lag behind," he said while delivering the main address at the Medical Marijuana Integration Day held at the University of Technology yesterday.

Pointing to increasing interest in the use of the cannabidiol (CBD) extract from marijuana as a treatment in childhood epilepsy clinical trials, Wheatley said that the Government would be taking the necessary steps to making the medical marijuana industry operational in Jamaica.

"Jamaica has joined a number of growing countries that have decriminalised marijuana and we will be moving to have the appropriate regulations in place to guide the development of the industry," he said.

Wheatley disclosed that a series of consultations is planned to determine what the regulations should be. He also said that a fee structure and determination of the five types of licences to be issued are also to be looked into. The science, energy and technology minister has also stressed that systems for security and enforcement monitoring will also be put in place as this is critical to safeguarding the industry.

"We are also looking at the introduction of import and export license ... and I want to see us producing impeccable research and data collection on the marijuana plant," he added.